"A primary definition of paradise is 'pleasure park.1 The walls of the Patriarchal Pleasure Park represent the condition of being perpetually parked, locked
into the parking lot of the past. A basic meaning of park is 'game preserve.' The
fathers' foreground is precisely this: an arena where the wildness of nature and of
women's Selves is domesticated, preserved. It is the place for the preservation of
females who are the 'fair game' of the fathers, that they may be served to these
predatory Park Owners, and service them at their pleasure. Patriarchal Paradise is
the arena of games, the place where the pleas of women are silenced, where the law
is: Please the Patrons. Women who break through the imprisoning walls of the Playboys' Playground are entering the process which is our happening/happiness. This
is a Paradise beyond the boundaries of 'paradise.' Since our passage into this process requires making breaks in the walls, it means setting free the fair game, breaking the rules of the games, breaking the names of the games. Breaking through the
foreground which is the Playboys' Playground means letting out the bunnies, the bitches,
the beavers, the squirrels, the chicks, the pussycats, the cows, the nags, the foxy
ladies, the old bats and biddies, so that they can at last begin naming themselves."
—Mary Daly, GYN/ECOLOGY, page 7, 1978
In the following passage from Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the conversation takes place between a man who is visiting a 2000-year-old country of women
and a woman of the country. It concerns the women's religion.
M This was a lesson to me. No wonder this whole nation of women was peaceful and sweet in expression they had no horrible ideas [in their religion].
'Surely you had some when you began,' I suggested.
' Oh,yes, no doubt. But as soon as our religion grew to any height at all we
left them out, of course.'
From this, as from many other things, I grew to see what I finally put in words.
•Have you no respect for the past? For what was thought and believed by your
•Why no,' she said. 'Why should we? They are all gone. They knew less than
we do. If we are not beyond them, we are unworthy of them and unworthy of the
children who must go beyond us.'
This set me thinking in good earnest. I had always imagined simply from
hearing it said, I suppose that women were by nature conservative. Yet these women, quite unassisted by any masculine spirit of enterprise, had ignored their past
and built daringly for the future."
Charlotte perkins Gilman, HERLAND, page 111, 1909-16 (1979)
SPOOKING FROM THE LOCKER ROOM: "...Although some women on some occasions have the
'privilege' of being directly addressed by such names as cunt or pussy, most of the
time this language is used in all-male environments. Yet it is the common male view
of all women and, although most women do not hear it directly, we receive the message in a muted way. It is conveyed through silences, sneers, jeers, excessive politenesses, paternalistic praise and disapproval, aggressive physical contact (an arm
around the shoulder, a pat on the behind), invasive stares. Since women often do not
heair the messages of obscenity directly, we are spooked...
Moreover, women are conditioned to pretend not to hear/see the constant and vio-
lentbombardments of obscenity, for we have been taught the lesson that since verbal
violence is a 'substitute' for physical assault, we should be grateful for such seemingly mild manifestations of misogynism. Thus, spooking from the locker room, the unacknowledged noise of omnipresent male obscenities, constitutes the 'background music'
which continually confuses and fragments consciousness. Exorcising this invasive presence requires acknowledging its existence and refusing to shuffle. This has the effect of bringing the spookers ouf into the open."
—Mary Daly, GYN/ECOLOGY, pages 323-^, 1978.